My first big set of technical difficulties here at the new Weblog That Derek Built. Time Warner Cable tells me that my high-speed connection is experiencing "packet loss", which made La Chiquita wonder "Where are your packets going? Who's getting them instead of you?"
So, while the dust settles (and while, as a side matter, I re-learn how to do tables in HTML) I'll throw some links out there.
Over at Futility Infielder, Jay Jaffe has completed his magnum opus, an epic three-part series on Gary Sheffield. Chronicling Sheff's career is a task well-suited to Jay, given his mixed Dodgers/Yankees allegiances, and he really nails this one.
Gary Sheffield Reconsidered
Over at Rich Lederer's website, he's been doing a fascinating edition-by-edition look at the Bill James Baseball Abstracts. The most recent one is part one of two on the 1983 Baseball Abstract.
Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT: Abstracts from the Abstracts -- a Twelve Part Series
Part 1: 1977
Part 2: 1978
Part 3: 1979
Part 4: 1980
Part 5: 1981
Part 6: 1982
Part 7a: 1983
Over at Baseball Prospectus, Brother Joe has a rare non-subscriber column on the Wild Card, in which he looks, year-by-year and league-by-league, at the effect of the Wild Card on pennant-race excitement.
Prospectus Today: The Wild Card
John Brattain, writing over at Larry Mahnken's Replacement Level Yankees blog, has an in-depth look at the career of Roger Maris, from Maris's first pro contract with the Cleveland Indians, straight through to retirement and a beer distributorship in Florida.
A Star Nobody Wanted to See Twinkle
Finally, speaking of Maris, over at ESPN's Page 2 Bill Simmons has reviewed the HBO film on Mantle, Maris, and the chase after Babe Ruth's single season home run record, "61*". Even though Simmons is a big Red Sox fan, he still gives 61* its propers. I pretty much agree with him about the film. One thing he didn't mention -- 61* shows us both the good and the bad of CGI in sports films.
The good is being able to digitally re-create Yankee Stadium -- the old one, with the monuments in the field of play, the one that could comfortably seat the entire population of Rhode Island. The bad side was when they decided to go for a cheesy CGI effect to stand in for Hoyt Wilhelm's Hall of Fame knuckleball. Billy Crystal, who directed the movie, brought in a real-life knuckleballer -- Tom Candiotti -- to play Wilhelm, and then he wastes the appearance by having Candiotti throw a special effect.
Sports Guy's Top Sports Movies: No. 39
[UPDATE: added links to the individual Abstract reviews]